IIT-Madras student on Major General Bakshi: Much offence taken to a soldier’s lament

Much furore is being made on this line by some sections of the people who are against the very idea of India
IIT-Madras student on Major General Bakshi: Much offence taken to a soldier’s lament
IIT-Madras student on Major General Bakshi: Much offence taken to a soldier’s lament
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By Ashutosh Shukla

An IIT-Madras student, Ashutosh Shukla has written a counter to Abhinav Surya, a fellow student who had written a letter to the IIT-Madras Director, calling Major General GD Bakshi’s lecture at the institute “hate-mongering”.  


Reproduced below is Ashutosh’s blog:

A certain class of gossip-mongers and attention seeking people have done it again. They have played an unaccustomed chord and injured themselves; not to mention a broken symphony. Who is at the target-end? A Bhakt, a cow-vigilante! No. They booed a retired soldier- Major General GD Bakshi. The occasion was an Independence Day lecture organized by EML team in IIT Madras, Chennai.

Major General had taken many detours in his lecture talking about India’s Military warfare from Mauryan era until now. He gave some explanations which are much loved by conspiracy theorist all over the world. Verisimilitude or hokum! Notwithstanding any prior judgement, like everyone else he has had his due right to advocate his theory (Marx still does its round of campus corridors). Every alternate narrative gets a voice in democracy. Let’s dissect some so-called controversial sections of his speech and decode the underlying sentiment of the speaker. Before we proceed any further, let’s keep one thing in mind- it was a soldier speaking and not an academic romanticising out-dated ideologies in an air conditioned chamber.

“The only thing Indian about India is her army”. Much furore is being made on this line by some sections of the people who are against the very idea of India. By the way, it was not the general who spoke this. Rather an American soldier had made this point. Yes, Major General GD Bakshi seemed to endorse this view.  He is free to make his opinion- biased or non-biased. The sentence can be harmlessly paraphrased into something of one’s own preference- “The only thing Indian about India is her cuisine”, “The only thing Indian about India is her colour and couture.” Moreover, is it not the Indian Army that runs to help any Indian irrespective of his/her diverse affiliations. It is the soldier of the armed forces which identifies with “India” & not regional identities. In that respect, is it not right to call the army “Indian”!

Another misrepresentation being propagated is that the “Major General wrote off the freedom struggle when he said we gained true freedom in 2014”. On the contrary he glorified the armed struggle by reactionary revolutionaries like Bose who fought with his INA (Indian National Army). He was blatantly against the romantic utopian idea that only ‘Non-violence’ and ‘Non-cooperation’ got us freedom. There are many theories about how India got her freedom. Apparently every other section seems to have strong belief in its own version of the story. Who to believe, who not to? Make your own informed choice. But there is no denial that armed resistance had broken the British to a pretty good extent. We can have an open discourse on how much weight we assign to different factors behind British departure from India. One factor wasn’t enough, we rational folks do agree on that.

“He was spewing hate and violence in his speech,” alleges a student. He didn’t do anything like that. As a soldier he has seen his boys being killed in battle. It’s only natural that he gets heated every time the war is discussed. The enemy state he fought against was divided into two post-war. He lost his beloved and you mustn’t expect him to deliver love messages from the podium. It was his ground level experience speaking. Ooze the juice of universal brotherhood after you’ve lost your brother to the enemy state.

The Major General listened to all the questions carefully and gave answers post the lecture. He smiled at the blunt critic of a so-called brave student, who thanked the platform for bringing a speaker spewing venom. It is to be noted that the same platform had called Teesta Setlvad a few years backs and she had cried baseless allegations against an organisation. She had shouted and presented a post-apocalypse scenario if someone like India’s current PM came to power (He did and we don’t see any danger looming on the horizon). That was hatred; violence of words. When the Major General tells a story about skull being crushed by elephants of Mauryan army, that is not violence- that is warfare. What do you expect to listen in an army’s lecture- lullabies? People get killed and tortured in war. When so much of disagreement was there, an army personnel mustn’t have been called in the first place. Rather yet again some social theorist! You heard a man who won you battles. Yet, you’ve got the right to disagree. You do that. But a systematic propaganda against the army does no good. However, another section of students came full in support of the Major General’s lecture. There is a visible split in academia- a fault line of ideological divide.

Note: The views expressed here are the personal opinions of the author

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